Annual Report 2021-2022 – WFD Board Member: Victoria Manning

WFD Board Member: Victoria Manning

The Deaf Aotearoa board nominated Victoria Manning to the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) Board in 2019. Victoria was successfully voted onto the WFD Board at the 2019 General Assembly and is serving a four year term, 2019 – 2023. The new WFD Board held their first Board meeting in-person in Georgia in November 2019, and due to the COVID-19 pandemic subsequent Board meetings were held via Zoom. Between September 2021 and September 2022 there were five WFD Board meetings. The 125th Board meeting was on Zoom in September 2021. The 126th Board meeting was a hybrid meeting, on Zoom and in-person for those who were able to travel, in the United Arab Emerites in November 2021. The 127th Board
meeting was entirely on Zoom in January 2022 and the 128th Board meeting was another hybrid meeting both on Zoom and in-person for those who were able to travel, in Thailand, Bangkok.

The 129th Board meeting in September 2022 in Nambia was the first in-person board meeting that Victoria could attend since the New Zealand Government’s COVID-19 travel restrictions began. Victoria says, “The Board meeting in Namibia was only my second in-person WFD board meeting since being elected to the board in 2019. Being in-person is very different to being on Zoom. I really enjoyed being in-person again, engaging more in the conversations and getting to know my fellow board members better.

This board meeting in Namibia included four days working our way through the Board meeting agenda; one day providing a workshop to the Namibia Deaf community and launching the International Week of the Deaf with Namibian Government Ministers and the Namibian Deaf community. We also visited a Deaf school in the Namibian capital, Windhoek, where the Deaf children were highly energised and happy to meet with us.

Between mid-2021 and September 2022, Board meetings have focused on increasing our WFD financial and human resource capacity supporting Deaf Ukrainians developing position papers developing a tool kit for the recognition of sign language rights in Global South countries providing training to Ordinary Member national deaf association on the recognition of sign languages and sign language rights running international webinars on various topics increasing the WFD’s media presence.

The WFD President, Vice President, Executive Director, other board members and staff have also represented Deaf issues at UN events and meetings, including at the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities annual Conference of States Parties. In the time period mid-2021 to September 2022, the WFD released a number of position statements including: Position Statement on Access to National Sign Languages as a Health Need, April 2022. Guidelines for the protection and safety of deaf people in armed conflicts, March Statement on the right of deaf people to equal treatment in the context of the Global Covid-19
pandemic, January 2022 Position Statement on Educational Rights for Deaf Learners During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond.